Friday, February 12, 2010

Google Buzz Rethink

In my previous post, I tried to give a run down on how use Google Buzz (Gbuzz) in a manner that would allow you to share things with an intimate group of people without exposing yourself to the world. However, after thinking about it for a while, it is apparent to me I was attempting to use Gbuzz in a manner contrary to its intention.

I wanted Gbuzz to be a private area where sharing and communicating as a group was easier than it is with email, but still allow each participant as much anonymity as they wanted. And certainly, I wasn't interested in broadcasting things to the world with Gbuzz. And yes, sometimes just exposing people's names is too much information especially when I'm put into a position of having to decide for other people whether their names are exposed.

However, private use really isn't the intended use of Gbuzz. Gbuzz is really about public communication. I can speculate about (and even appreciate) the reasons why Google would embed Gbuzz in the middle of their private communication Gmail app, but the bottom line is I think it was a poor choice, and I definitely feel the roll out was mismanaged with unclear configuration options and poor documentation. (To Google's credit, they are responding quickly to many of these things.)

The bottom line is that I will leave my Gbuzz account enabled as I feel I finally have a handle on privacy issues and privacy controls, but I will only use it for public postings. I'll only use it for things I'm comfortable having in public.

This will actually limit its usefulness to me. I really have no need for another public platform. What I really wanted was that more private area that I can't seem to find in the google world outside of Gmail. I suppose there are other social applications (like Facebook maybe?) that might fit the bill, but I really don't feel like joining yet another social web site.

Anyway, I'll keep an eye on Gbuzz, and who knows, maybe it will demonstrate its usefulness as a public platform? But for now, I'll just follow Gbuzz developments with interest and maybe play around with the API.

Also, for further thoughts on other services related to Gbuzz that I didn't even touch on, see this piece. And here's a link to the Gbuzz privacy FAQ again. If you want to completely disable Gbuzz, I would pay particular attention to question 15:
Q15: How do I get rid of Buzz?
A15: Follow these steps:
1) Delete your profile by going to, clicking Edit Profile, and then Delete Profile (at the bottom). This will delete all of your Buzz posts.
2) Block all of your followers (See Q10)
3) Turn off Buzz in Gmail by clicking on "turn off buzz" at the bottom

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